August 29, 2019 | Published by |

In the world of print and radio, non-verbal communication may not matter, but when we turn to television, panel discussions, audience presentations and even job interviews then whether we sink or swim can depend on the non-verbal cues we put out. As part of our first-ever combined Centre of Excellence media communication workshop, Anne Meyer from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology produced this cheat sheet for non-verbal communication.

Click on the image below to download the pdf or read the contents below.

CBNS guide for non-verbal communications

Guide for non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication is the expression or exchange of information or messages without using any spoken or written word. It is an important component of most human communications. Non-verbal communication plays an important role in interviews, presentations or when dealing with the public. This sheet will help you to tackle the majority of common non-verbal communication mistakes.

GESTURES AND BODY POSTURE

Body Posture: standing (Where are your hands and feet?)

Do this

  • rest your hands at your side (except behind lectern)
  • nest your hands in one another, keep them at navel level (allows gestures)
  • mirror your interviewer
  • posture up
  • balance on your feet
  • check the position of your feet – they point the way

Don’t do this

  • cross arms or legs
  • put hands in pockets or on hips
  • “lock” or hide your hands
  • slump over, grip sides of lectern
  • pace when giving talks

Body Posture: sitting (How do you sit? What are your hands doing?)

Do this

  • sit straight or lean slightly forward
  • mirror your interviewer
  • put your hands on table OR
  • put hands on thighs, shoulders straight
  • check the position of your feet – they point the way
  • choose the chair instead of the couch

Don’t do this

  • cross arms or legs
  • “lock” or hide your hands
  • slouch
  • lean back

Gestures (Accentuate the message and show emphasis, openness, warmth)

Do this

  • use calm gestures
  • open palms are better than pointy fingers
  • posture up

Don’t do this

  • fidget
  • draw words

EYE CONTACT & FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

Eye contact (Maintain eye contact = confidence)

Do this

  • focus on the bridge of the nose rather than eyes
  • pause briefly before answering questions
  • shift eye contact in group interviews

Don’t do this

  • stare
  • wander around

Facial Expression (First we see, then we hear)

Do this

  • smile
  • remind yourself to not look angry
  • practice in front of a mirror

Don’t do this

  • fail to express any emotions (robot)
  • frown

Paralinguistics 1 (Voice, tone, speed and volume)

Do this

  • keep your voice/tone level and well-modulated
  • place emphasis in your words
  • record yourself
  • try speaking while writing

Don’t do this

  • whisper (only use as a special effect)
  • shout

Paralinguistics 2 (Inflection and uptalk)

Do this

  • be aware of your voice
  • put certainty behind your statement
  • practice at home with commands “Pen, move to the right!”

Don’t do this

  • use inflection at the end of a sentence
  • use upspeak unless asking a question

Filling words, sounds and phrases (We use fillers when our words get ahead of our thoughts)

Do this

  • slow down
  • be aware – count or clap
  • breathe and pause – better a second of silence than “um” or “er”
  • prepare – filler word usage is highest when preparation is lowest
  • shift focus

Don’t do this

  • speak too fast
  • use basically, actually, like, um, uh, ah, mmhh, literally, you know, what I am trying to say is